Planning Makes Perfect

I’ve mentioned this before, but I LOVE to plan things – making lists, thinking through a project and deciding on the best steps to take – it makes me positively giddy!  I never start a project without plotting it out first.

I have a pretty organized way of planning my sewing projects.  I’m not a sticky note kind of gal when it comes to my project prep.  No, no…I have my very own official Thimble & Cork Sewing Planner!


I discovered MayBooks from Pinterest not long ago, so I designed two books: a T&C sewing planner with grid paper, and a 2013 calendar.  These are the coolest little notebooks.  They are small enough that they both fit in my purse without adding any bulk, so I have them with me at all times.  And the binding is actually sewn!  I love that little touch.


I create a new page for each new project.  On it, I’ll attach a swatch of my fabric so I’m never caught guessing at thread or zipper color when I’m at the fabric store.


I’ll take notes regarding the fabric that I’m using, notions that I need to buy, measurement calculations, ideas, and sometimes a to-do list for finishing the garment.  Like I said, I love my lists!


Having everything written out gets me excited about the possibilities for a new project.  I don’t think I could ever start a garment without adding it to my little book of ideas!


Are you a planner when it comes to sewing?  Or do you forge ahead fearlessly on a whim?  Do tell!

27 thoughts on “Planning Makes Perfect

  1. Your notebooks remind me of the types of things many of the costume designers I’ve worked with do to plan for a show. I’m not quite so organized with my project planning – I usually just have a general list.

    I do have a few projects in the planning stage that are file organizers containing some fabric yardage, a pattern, and sometimes a magazine page or two. I usually make more notes when I am in the middle of a build.

    1. Costume designing = best job ever! How much fun they must have going to work every day!! I like that you add inspiration photos to your planning. That would probably help me in the decision making process!

      1. Pictures are always helpful in planning. =)

        There’s a lot about professional costuming that is far from glamorous. I often get the fun task of dealing with dirty socks and lugging bins of heavy shoes around. Designers have a ton of meetings and paperwork. Then there’s the making sure all the actors, directors, and producers are happy, which often changes the design. My favorite jobs are those building brand new costumes in a shop.

      2. Wow…I never knew all of the ugly sides to professional costuming. In that case, I’d have to agree with your last statement – building new costumes would be a job that I would love to go to every day.

  2. I’m very much a seat of my pants kind of gal, but I should really work on being more organized and better prepared. I’d probably have things turn out better (and easier!) if I’d just make the effort.

    1. Thank you! This is the single place of organization in my sewing. You would think that with planning like this, my sewing room would be immaculate. It actually looks like a tornado blew through a hoarder’s haven!

  3. This is brilliant. I try to plan and then it just goes all over the place. My books are a bit bigger which is probably why I don’t carry them around often, even tho I carry a messenger bag everyday.

    1. Thanks! I used to have a hardcover spiral grid notebook but it was too difficult to take anywhere, and I ALWAYS forgot to take it with me when I went to the fabric store. I also like having my planner with me at work just in case inspiration hits during the day. So these little guys solved my problems 🙂

  4. Wow- this is a great idea! I’m not entirely a seat of my pants sewer, but I usually turn it over in my mind until I feel pretty sure about what to do, then I do it. The problem with this method is, I tend to forget what I did or why I did it as soon as I’m done. Your notebook is really good!

  5. Cute! I love this idea – it seems like a really portable way to take fabric swatches with you if you need to grab some coordinating thread or lining fabric, etc. You can just throw it in your purse! Going to check out that site! 🙂

    I’m a sewing project planner too – I have a big magnetic board from ikea with fabric swatches and pattern cover print outs pinned up where I sew. I try to keep it updated by season… but sometimes it’s more like “things I need to sew.” Like pants! Or shorts! I really need to try sewing those soon… one of my sewing goals for 2013!

    Here’s an example of the board I use:

  6. I just found your blog and I really enjoyed scanning through it. I can relate to your thought process a lot. I too love to make lists! I think it is a part of my analytical and detailed side. Like you, I work in a very technical field, but have always been drawn to creative endevours in my spare time. I hope to be able to expand my sewing skills to a handmade wardrobe. There have been so many lists made of the possibilities, and sadly just a lot of failures. I did learn a lot from them though. Outside of the successful apparel projects for my niece, my apparel sewing has not been real fruitful. I hope to change that after things slow down on my end at work. Did you encounter a steep learning curve in the apparel sewing department? More failures than one might one to admit to? Or is the just me?

    1. Hi Denise, thank you for checking out my blog and commenting! You are definitely not alone. I have had MANY failures along the way. I really learned everything by reading blogs, watching youtube videos and just “doing” it. I had failures that I was too ignorant to even realize they WERE failures for a while! But with each mistake, I’ve gotten slightly better. I still haven’t made a garment that I’m 100% happy with, so there’s a little bit of failure in everything, but I see that as learning what I’d like to do better next time. I look forward to following your blog and seeing what you make along your journey!

    2. I think it’s so interesting that a lot of women I know that are in technical jobs are drawn to creative endeavors. I’m a software engineer and felt a part of me was dying without having a creative outlet. I was so happy to take up knitting and sewing again. Don’t worry about mistakes and failures. They’re lessons and I think sewing is a journey. That’s what’s so great about it. There’s always more to learn!

  7. I try to be somewhat organized but then sometimes I just make it up. Since I realised how big my stash and patterns were getting I’m trying to get more organized. But then I get distracted by new lovely patterns! I might have to start making a project book like you

    1. I know what you mean about getting distracted by new patterns. That’s my biggest problem! I have a list of about 15 things that I want to make right this minute! The project book definitely helps keep me focused.

  8. I feel like I should but I don’t! I’m inspired to now though seeing your book. I hate it when I stumble upon some fabric or notions and I don’t know how much or what size to get, I’ve been caught out a few times.

    1. That’s the very reason I started keeping these little notebooks. Several times I came home with zippers and thread that I thought were the exact color of my fabric, only to realize they were an entirely different shade. Thanks for visiting T&C – I love your blog!

  9. what a fantastic idea also, I use a composition book It was what I could afford at the time I started doing it. I carry a small pair of scissors and glue in my makeup bag…LOL cut off what I want and put it right in my note book.along with the information this way I would have an Idea of what I wanted an try to have some sense of style, if not in mind on paper to help me focus when going to a fabric store. with your idea I will put what I have made in the book with the extra fabric of the outfit so that I see what I have finished and any fabric switches i get along the way…Great mind working together SEwFamily

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